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Open Access Prenatal Transmission and Pathogenicity of Endogenous Ecotropic Murine Leukemia Virus Akv

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Abstract:

Objective: Mouse strains carrying endogenous ecotropic murine leukemia viruses (MuLV) are capable of expressing infective virus throughout life. Risk of transplacental transmission of MuLV raises concerns of embryo infection and induction of pathogenic effects, and postnatal MuLV infection may lead to tumorigenesis.

Methods: Endogenous ecotropic MuLV-negative SWR/J embryos were implanted into Akv-infected viremic SWR/J mice, into spontaneously provirus-expressing AKR/J mice, and into noninfected SWR/J control mice; virus integration and virus expression were investigated at 14 days' gestation. Tumor development was monitored over 18 months.

Results: Of 111 embryos, 20 (18%) recovered from Akv-infected SWR/J mice, which had developed normally, were infected. New proviruses were detected in 10 of 111 (9%) embryos from Akv-infected SWR/J mice, and in 2 of 60 (3%) embryos from AKR/J mice; none expressed viral protein. Of 127 embryos recovered from Akvinfected SWR/J mice, 16 (13%) were dead; 4 of 5 (80%) were infected and expressed viral protein. Of 71 embryos from AKR/J mice, 11 (15%) were dead, and 2 of 2 had virus integration; virus expression was not detected. Numbers of dead embryos recovered from experimentally infected, viremic SWR/J mice and from spontaneously endogenous MuLV-expressing AKR/J mice were significantly higher, compared with numbers from nonviremic SWR/J control mice, and embryo lethality was significantly associated with prenatal provirus expression. Postnatal inoculation of Akv induced lymphoblastic lymphomas in 15 of 24 (61%) SWR/J mice within mean SD latency of 14 + 2.4 months. Only 3 of 39 (8%) control mice developed lymphomas (P < 0.005).

Conclusion: Embryos in MuLV-viremic dams are readily infected, and inappropriate prenatal expression of leukemogenic endogenous retroviruses may play a critical role in embryo lethality and decreased breeding performance in ecotropic provirus-positive mouse strains.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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